First Cobalt (TSX-V: FCC) has commenced a $2.5 million exploration program at its Iron Creek cobalt-copper project in the United States.
Located in the Idaho Cobalt Belt, the Iron Creek Project is one of the few primary cobalt deposits in the world.
Iron Creek has an indicated 2.2 million tonne resource at 0.26% cobalt and 0.61% copper, for 12.3 million pounds of cobalt and 29Mlb of copper.
It also has an inferred 2.7Mt at 0.22% cobalt and 0.68% copper for 12.7Mlb and 40Mlb respectively.
“Cobalt demand for electric vehicles is projected to increase more than 250% by 2025 and Idaho is believed to be America’s best opportunity to develop a domestic supply of this critical mineral,” First Cobalt CEO Trent Mell said in a media statement.
First Cobalt is looking to develop supply as it moves to commission the expansion of its cobalt refinery in Canada’s Ontario province next year.
Under the terms of a binding cobalt hydroxide supply contract, Glencore AG will supply the refinery from the KCC mining operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo for five years, commencing in Q4 2022.
First Cobalt has said the project would help North America reduce its reliance on China.
The country dominates the supply chain for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and also has two of the world’s top producers of the metal — Tianqi Lithium and Ganfeng Lithium.
Midday Thursday, First Cobalt’s stock was up 1.6% on the TSXV. The company has a C$153 million market capitalization.